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Big Week In Cajuns Basketball – From the Bird’s Nest

Brad Kemp/

This could be as fun a week in college basketball in the Cajundome as we’ve seen in years. And, each night, you get two for the price of one, as both the men and women will be playing

It will start Thursday when league leading Georgia State (5-0) comes to the Cajundome.  Gametime is 7:15 with women’s action beginning at 5:00 The Panthers have won nine in a row heading into the Louisiana swing this week.  The Panthers have cut through the league thus far, winning their five games by an average of 13.8 points per game.  Georgia State and the Cajuns are tops in the league in scoring average, so this one will be up and down the court.

It’s not often you can go to the Cajundome and see four legitimate NBA prospects.  But that’s what fans will see Thursday night.  We already know about Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long.  But GSU will bring in a pair of guards that are legit.  R. J. Hunter, son of the head coach, is a 6-5 sophomore who is an outstanding shooter and has the kind of body NBA scouts really like.  Ryan Harrow is a cat-quick 6-2 junior who transferred in from Kentucky.  Both can really, really play.  There are major college games played around the country that don’t feature four NBA prospects.  Fans who go are in for a treat.  Georgia State isn’t a particularly deep team, as four of the five starters average over thirty minutes per game.  But the five they put on the floor are good enough to beat a lot of teams.  And, don’t put them on the free throw line.  They’re shooting 84% as a team in conference play, 76.8 percent overall.  This game should be a lot of fun to watch.  Obviously, it’s a must win for Louisiana as far as the league race is concerned.  UL has played lights out at home this year.  If you attend no other game this year, this would be the one to go to.

Unless it’s Saturday.

I’ve written in the past of some of the memorable games in the series with Western Kentucky.  From the first meeting (Michael Allen’s 30-footer at the buzzer), to a player who forgot the score in the closing seconds and dunked at the buzzer with his team down by three (Darnell Mee) , to a “dance” at mid-court (in 2000…WKU milked that one for about four years), to Chris Marcus and three heartbreaking losses (2001, 02, 03)  to getting pelted with squeeze bottles (110-102) , to six men on the court (two years ago at Diddle.)

The series with the Cajuns and Hilltoppers has had it all.

The rivalry between the two has gone on for more than twenty years.  And, so many of the games have meant battles for first place, or advancing in the conference tournament.  This will be WKU’s final trip to the Cajundome.  It’s on national television (ESPN2) and it’s a “whiteout” game.  Tipoff is slated for 3pm, with the women to follow.

And it’s Western Kentucky, for cryin’ out loud.

No….this week is as good as it gets in this league.  And, you’re very fortunate.

Because you get to be a part of it.

See you Thursday.  And Saturday.

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